I wanted to revisit this exclusive and amazing resort called the Taj Vivanta, inKerala. During booking process, the staff doubly checked if we really don’t need a cab, if we are not coming by air.
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After doing the 4th Service schedule, you always feel that you should go out on the road and take the car’s trial. Well, after this schedule, the trial was a 1676km trip to South Kerala and back to Pune. So much so for the excitement, that the return trip to Pune was a non-stop endurance run of 830km in 16hrs with myself as a single driver accompanied with my family.
Well, looking at our history in the last 10 years, before my marriage, I and my friend have completed such endurance tasks a couple of times, namely Chennai to Pune in 22 hours, Thrissur to Pune and the most endured run was Gurugram to Pune in 27 hours. Both of us shared the wheel.
Back the, the machines were my 2010 Tata Aria and later, 2015 Tata Safari Storme Varicor 320:
As you are married, you know that you need to travel mostly with your family and that’s why there was a this kind of a road trip with an endurance non-stop return, but with no one to share the wheel.
My current car is the Tiguan 2.0 Tdi. I wanted to revisit this exclusive and amazing resort called the Taj Vivanta, in Bekal, Kerala. During the booking process, even the staff doubly checked if we really don’t need a cab, if we are not coming by Air. Not a huge distance from Pune to Kerala, but usually their interstate guests come mostly by Air.
Started the first leg of the tour till Belgavi, at 12:21pm.
245km after and 3:30 hours past, we took the first halt at the Kognoli mall, probably called as the Viraj Junction. This is a well maintained place for all kinds of cravings you desire, just after the southern MH border ends:
After much needed cup of coffee and a Dosa, we headed to stay at the Fairfield Marriott, after some shopping in the city:
Note that the location of this Marriott is convenient for those who wish to stay and return on their journeys on the NH48.
There are Tata Power fast and slow chargers for EV owners reading this, those who yet to have discover this place.
At 340km down the trip, filled cheap diesel(read diesel at a cheaper rate).
Much later, I realized that Kerala sells diesel at an even premium price of 96/- higher than MH. So advisable to fill as much as fuel within the KA territory while bypassing the states:
The booking at Ginger Mangaluru was confirmed, so I wanted to leave as early as possible to traverse the NH66 and the beautiful Yellapur ghats in time.
So started the Leg 2 of the tour at 9am with a full tank of cheap Diesel!
The Tiguan’s fuel tank is a whopping 71L and if driven sedately it at least shows a range of upwards of 1000km on the instrument binnacle:
The drive ahead was an 8hour long 420km wide one, though with some beautiful stretches in the Yellapur forest area and the most scenic of all, Marvanthe Beach, with one side Kolluru river and the Arabian sea on the other side, and the Prince of highways, the NH66 stretching in between. (The king of highways for me shall always be the NH4(8)):
Then there is this shortcut from Kittur via Alnavar which shaved off a few minutes and kilometers, from the traditional Hubballi-Sirsi route.
Belgavi-Kittur stretch is fun to drive, with good speeds achievable. You lose a lot of momentum in the ghats of yellapur till you reach NH66.
3 hours after, at Hebbul, an hour after crossing Yellapur, we halted for a lunch break at 12:30pm. (This is a perfect time to stopover for a lunch):
Now as I said earlier about the timing of the lunch ( and also witnessed the same at udipi for the legendary snacks stopover), 12:30pm was the best timing for it, as when we finished ours by 1:10pm, here I saw 3 to 5 cars stopping over for the same. Saw the rush and delay in their orders. Here we saved time by stopping early than the crowd lunch time. By this time we had done and started the second half:
After Hebbul, when you take a turn towards Yana, you begin to feel your nearness (proximity is very technical, nearness has emotion) to coastal Karnataka, and you hear the sweet tire sounds of the NH66, from here itself:
Above is the scenic Bridge which crosses the river Gangaavali.
Enroute Mirjan-Ramnagar road, we are on narrow roads till a point comes where the Prince of the Highway is seen:
At Gokarna Cross near Madangeri water supply you see the smooth tarmac visuals of the much awaited NH66. From this point till Murudeshwar, there is no stopping:
After the Glorious Statue of Shri Shankar and the Tall Gopuram, we continued our journey towards Udipi for a halt at the Legendary MTR cafe.
But before Udipi comes the iconic, the scenic Maravanthe beach, before Kundapura. The winds on this patch carry a brewed scent of sweet aqua of the Kolluru river and the saline waters of the Arabian sea:
Humidity takes a toll on you even in a closed Air controlled cabin. You feel you could nourish yourself with a chilled drink, but why would you when the iconic MTR cafe is just a few miles ahead.:
We reached MTR, Udipi at 4:20pm. By the time, the sweet Udipi locals and other visitors got out of their houses and hotels to visit this place, we were trying their third Benne dosa. If I could make you feel the taste of the coffee and the dosa, by writing some more here, I still would be unable to express that exact sensory pleasure that unfolded just by tasting the dosa. Hard and golden brown on the outside, and soft from the inside. I must tell you, the dosas, the coffees we do it here in MH are just not the dosas and the coffees we try when we are in Southern India.
The 2nd day leg was about to end in Manguluru after 442km since refuel and 9 hours later from Belgavi:
Ginger Manguluru is another Budget hotel just next to NH66 for a quick stay and run across the costal sides of the states.
So the total trip from Pune has been 783km with one fuel stopover at Belgavi.
From Hereon, we cut the word BUDGET and not use it till the end of the trip.
Because here comes the day 3 of the tour starting in Manguluru towards Bekal, Kerala, in a short distance of 65km:
Welcome Taj Vivanta, Bekal
From here more feast to the eyes than talking:
Continue reading on BHPian amayjoshi’s road trip for BHPian comments, insights and more information.
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